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The biggest bank merger since the crisis may herald more

GIANT BANKS are made, not born. Today’s American behemoths were formed by a dizzying series of deals in the decade before the financial crisis. NationsBank and BankAmerica became Bank of America. Wells Fargo joined with Norwest. J.P. Morgan and Chase melded, and then bought Bank One. The crisis brought more mergers, but out of necessity as much as ambition: JPMorgan Chase took on Washington Mutual; Wells, Wachovia. But since the crisis hook-ups have been smaller. The very biggest banks are barred from retail acquisitions on competition grounds. Supervisors have become quicker at approving tie-ups between tiddlers.
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